Autografo de San Juan de la Cruz

Spiritual Canticle


Wither hast vanished,
Beloved, and hast left me full of woe,
And like the hart hast sped,
Wounding, ere thou didst go,
Thy love, who follow'd, crying, high and low?
Y shepherds, soon to be
Among these sheepcotes on the hillside high,
If ye perchance should see
Him that I love pass by,
Say to him that I suffer, grieve and die.
I'll seek my love straightway,
Over yon hills, down where yon streamlets flow.
To pluck no flowers I'll stay;
No fear of beast I'll Know;
Past mighty men, o'er frontier-grounds I'll go.
You forest, thicket, dene,
Which my beloved set in close array;
You meadow-land so green,
Spangled whit blossoms gay,
Tell me, oh tell me, has he pass'd your way?
Rare gifts he scattered
As through thes woods and groves he pass'd apace,
Turning, as on he sped,
And clothing every place
With loveliest reflection of his face.
O that my grieft would end!
Come, grant me thy fruition full and free!
And henceforth do thou send
No messenger to me,
For none but thou my comforter can be
The creatures, all around,
Speak of thy graces as I pass then by.
Each deals a deeper wound
And something in their cry
Leaves me so raptur'd that I fain would die
How do I still draw breath
Since'tis no life at all, this life I Know?
These arrow-wounds deal death,
That do torment me so
And with fair thougts of thee increase my woe.
Why piercedst thou this heart
And heal'dst it not upon the selfsame day?
Why usedst robbers'art
Yet leavest thus thy prey
And tak'st it not eternally away?
End thou my torments here,
Since none but thou can remedy my plight;
And to these eyes appear,
For thou art all their light
And save for thee I value not their sight.
Reveal thyself, I cry,
Yea, though the beauty of thy presence kill,
For sick with love am I,
And naught can cure my ill
Save only if of thee I have my fill.
O crystal spring so fair,
Might now within thy silvery deths appear,
E'en as I linger there,
Those featrues ever dear
Which on my soul I carry graven clear!
Withdraw thy gaze apart,
For, lol I soar aloft.

Return, my love!
See where the stricken hart
Looks from the hill above
What time he hears thy beating wings, my dove!
My love is as the hills,
The lonely valleys clad with forest-trees,
The rushing, sounding rills,
Strange isles in distant seas,
Lover-like whisperings, murmurs of the breeze.
My love es hus-of-night,
Is dawn's first breathings in the heav'n above,
Still music veil'd from sight,
Calm that can echoes move,
The feast that bring new strengh —the feast of love.
Now blooms our nuptial bed,
Safe-hid from men by lions'fortress-lair,
With royal purple spread,
Builded all free from care,
Crown'd with a thousand golden scutcheons rare.
Youths that adore thy name
Follow thy footprints, for they sorely pine
To feel thy touch of flame,
To taste thy spiced wine,
To be anointed with thy balm divine.
Within his secret store,
Of my beloved drank I deep indeed.
Remembering then no more,
I roam'd this fertile mead,
My flock forgotten which I used to feed.
There gave he me his breast,
There taught me sweetest science of his own.
And I myself confest
His only, his alone
Lavish'd my love upon him, keeping none.
My soul is well content
To serve her spouse whit al her wealth and night.
Her days of toil full-spent,
Her flock now lost to sight,
Love is her labour, love her sole delight.
So, should I ne'er again
Be seen or heard of the common-ground,
Say that roam'd in vain,
By bonds of true love bound,
That I was lost, and that I now am found.
Of flowers and emeralds green,
Gather'd at coolest dawn on summer lea
Garlands, my love, we'll glean,
That joy to bloom for thee:
Bound with one golden hair of mine they'll be.
That golden hair one day,
Thou saw'st as on my neck it lightly stray'd,
It bound thee then straigtway
A prisioner thou wert made,
And wounded by my glance that on thee play'd.
When thou on me didst gaze
Thine eyes forthwith imprinted of their grace;
Then Knew I love's ameze,
And bolden'd in that place,
Straigtway ador'd as I beheld thy face.
Ah, scorn me not, I pray,
For if, in truth, uncomely once was i,
Thy beauty came one day,
And cloth' my misery;
Look then on me, thus scrouded, as I cry.
Drive us the foxes hence,
For, seel our vine has come at last to flower,
The while with roses dense
We twine our nuptial bower,
Let none disturb our groves at this glad hour.
Begone, chill northern blast!
Wind from the south, that wakenest love, he ours!
Breathe in us, winter past,
The fragrance of thes bowes,
Where my beloved pastures'mid flowers.

Her entry she has made
Into the long'd-for garden fair to sight.
Now rests she in its sahde,
With fullness of delight,
Secure in the embrace of tranquil might.
Beneath the apple-flower
To plight my truth to thee, my love, I came.
My hand in that same hour
Pled'g unto thee my name
In reparatin of thy mother's shame.
Birds as ye take your wing,
Lion and hart and skipping fallow-deer,
River as ye take your wing,
Lion and hart and skipping fallow-deer,
River-bank, valley, spring,
Heats, breezes, mountains sheer,
Things that chase sleep and fill the nights with fear.
By siren's sweetest song
And pleasant lyre, I conjure you to cease.
Let your tumultuous throng
No more assault our peace:
The Bride sahll find in sleep secure release.
Daughters of Jewry, stay!
While choicest ambar-perfume doth invade
Rose-bowers and blossoms gay,
Rest in the outer glade
And come not to distrub our holy shade.
Ilide thee, my lover dear,
And lift thine eyes until the hills they see,
Speak not, for none will hear;
Lo, where they company
With her that roams strange islands far and free.
See, where the milk-white dove
Bears to the ark the pledge of flood-freed ground.
And the comrade of her love
The turtle-dove has found
On verdant banks with psatures all around.
So she who dwelt alone
In loneliness again has built her nest,
Guide alone by one,
Upon her lonely quest,
Who, lonely too, by love was sorely prest.

Beloved, let us sing,
And in thy beauty see ourselves portray'd
Where purest waters spring
Rippling o'er hill and glade;
Then enter farther in the forest's shade.
Mount we at last on hig
Ev'n to the caverns of the rocky mine.
Enter we, thou and I,
Those secret haunts divine,
To drink of the pomegranate's ruddy wine.
There unto this thy dove
That which her soul has yearn'd for wilt thou show,
And there, dear life-of-love,
That blessing wilt bestow
Which once she has known and ever longs to Know.
The gendy moving air;
The sweetest song of Philomel the queen;
The forest wondrous fair
On a night of nights serene;
The flame consuming-fierce yet painless-keen.
None can behold us more
Not e'en the Arch-enemy can now appear
For the long, long siege is o'er
And the horsemen, halting here,
Dismount and gaze upon the water dear.

English translation: E. Allison-Peers [Ed. Borns Dates - London, 1947 ]

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